Updated: Jul 28
It has been reported that 7-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi is close to finalizing a deal with MLS side Inter Miami. The implications of this signing will be profound for the whole league as it will bring millions more viewers to the league and could be crucial in truly lifting MLS onto the global stage. In addition, it will raise other questions: How can we add 80,000 seats to Inter Miami's stadium? If you put 10 men on Messi who will mark the rest of the team? Does Miami get some sort of handicap? Honestly, though, the signing will be huge for MLS as a whole.
One of these implications is the potential signing of Tata Martino. It has been reported that Miami is close to signing the ex-Atlanta United and Mexico coach. Other than leading Atlanta to an MLS championship in the club's second year, the 60-year-old manager has had an illustrious coaching career of over 20 years. That included a stint as Argentina manager from 2014-2016 and coaching Barcelona in 2013-14. In his time in Catalonia, he set a record for not losing any of his first 20 games with Barcelona including an El Classico. To cap it all off Messi and Tata are even from the same town! These connections with Messi are almost certainly what is causing Miami's push to sign the Argentine coach as their new signing will have a big influence on club decisions.
Another of the side effects of signing Messi is a huge increase in following. In the day after Messi left PSG their Twitter followers dropped by roughly a million followers. On addition, by signing with PSG in 2022 he gained them a reported £610 million from shirt sales in his first year after making up roughly 60 percent of all of their shirt sales. He also had a major impact on sponsors as they reportedly gained 10 new sponsors because of Messi's transfer and the sponsorship fee rose from £2.6m to £6.9m. This huge financial impact and fan following that follows Messi will be huge for MLS as they try to join Europe's "Big Five" as a top league in the world. This is already in effect in Miami as seat prices have flown off the charts. Seats all across MLS for Miami games that would normally be $20 are now easily hundreds of dollars.
Lastly, it will be interesting to see how his ridiculous skill will affect the opposition. So many players everywhere idolized Messi as kids and now players like 18-year-old Caleb Wiley will get to line up against him. It will be interesting to see how teams choose to deal with him as I doubt he will be kind of uninspiring like Insigne, even if he didn't have a great start to life in Paris.